Why Olive Oil should be one of your pantry staples.
What is Olive Oil
Olive oil is extracted from olives, which are the fruit of olive trees.
The modern extraction process involves crushing the olives and then separating the oil from the pulp in a centrifuge.
There are three main grades of olive oil, which are determined by the oil's nutritional content and the level of processing they go through:
Refined olive oil - the most processed
Virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil - the least processed
I tend to use Extra Virgin Olive Oil because it is the least processed and is typically extracted using more natural methods to maintain purity, as well as taste and smell. It is also full of antioxidants and known for it's wide range of health benefits.
What brand of extra-virgin olive oil do you have in your pantry right now?
Benefits of Using Olive Oil
Olive oil has been called the most nutritious fat in the world because it’s high in antioxidants and good-for-you fats.
Not only that, but it contains anti-inflammatories that are linked with a lower incidence of stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease! PLUS … it has antibacterial properties.
There is also a false assumption that when you consume oils and other fats, you increase likelihood of weight gain. When you consume healthy fats, in moderation (think about a serving as the size of your thumb or smaller), you won't actually get fat...instead it may even aid in weight loss as you're providing your body with nutrients it needs.
One tablespoon contains:
14 grams of fat, including 7 grams monounsaturated and 7 grams polyunsaturated
Vitamin E: 13% of the Daily Value (DV)
Vitamin K: 7% of the DV
For the best nutrition benefits, make sure you’re using PURE extra virgin olive oil.
How to use Olive Oil
It’s easy to get more olive oil in your diet – use it in salad dressings, pestos and sauces, when you sauté veggies, and more!
Make a simple salad dressing: Mix 1 part acid/vinegar to 3 parts olive oil. You can create a variety of flavors by adding in other ingredients like different mustards, honey, herbs, etc.
Use Olive Oil as a finishing oil: the rich flavor of olive oil can be lost when you simply use it to keep food from sticking when cooking. To tap into that flavor, try using the oil at the end by drizzling it on warm, finished dishes. Try this with creamy soups, fish, hummus, roasted potatoes, or as a dipping oil for warm, crusty bread.
Bake with Olive Oil: the next time you're baking up a batch of fresh bread, cookies, cakes or muffins, try replacing the butter with olive oil. Read about how to convert the recipe before mixing so you use the correct amount.
Use Olive Oil when frying, roasting and sauteing: You may already be using olive oil when cooking at temperatures under 410⁰F because of it's smoke point but really, olive oil is quite stable, even at high temperatures (actually more so than most other oils).
Try replacing other fats with Olive Oil: swap butter, vegetable oil, coconut oil, mayo and more! I like to use olive oil when I pan-fry grilled cheese instead of butter because it creates a crispier finish. I also like to use it on my vegetables before I put them in the air fryer.
TIP: Olive oil degrades quickly so it should be stored in a cool, dark place (next to your stove is NOT the best idea!). If it comes in a clear container, transfer it to a light-proof container.
Where Will You Try Using Olive Oil?
Adding Olive Oil to your diet can benefit your heart, brain, joints and more. It has so many health benefits, and more are being discovered as studies continue. Try replacing just one fat with olive oil in your lineup of meals, or try using it to cook with if you're not already doing so. You can do your own experiment and track what you notice or feel as a result of the swaps.